What did I do? Well, on Saturday 2 September, I drove 130 miles to Purlescence at Leckhampstead in Berkshire, just outside Newbury, to do a knitting workshop. This was an early birthday present from my parents which I had been looking forward to since the end of July. The workshop was on double knitting and the teacher was Nathan Taylor aka Sockmatician! I have been watching Nathan's podcast for some time now and had become very interested in his preferred knitting technique of double knitting. This was encouraged by the fact that one of my knitting friends is currently knitting a blanket of double knitting squares from the Geek-A-Long.
My only concern was that the joining instructions talked about the long tail cast on, which is one of my least favourite cast ons - I'm generally a cable cast on knitter. So I packed up my DK yarn, my 4mm interchangeable tips and 2 different cables (having spent at least 20 minutes looking for my 4mm fixed circulars, only to realise that they were already being used on the project in my handbag!) and set out on the 2 hour plus drive. It was a smooth enough journey and I got there just after 1pm (for a 2pm start) with enough time to eat my lunch and chat with another attendee, Jo from Bristol.
Then we went inside. Purlescence is based in a unit on a farm, so one room is the workshop space with yarn round the walls and the other room has a sitting area, a shop section for books, needles and patterns and a place for making tea and coffee. I was definitely ready for a cup of tea at that point and there was also homemade cake - I had a brownie later on.
While waiting for other attendees to turn up, I looked at yarn and chatted with Nathan and the attendees who had already arrived. And then the workshop started.
I am not going to tell you everything about it because that wouldn't be right, but I had a really great time. Nathan is a lovely guy and a really good teacher, and he explained the theory and process of double knitting very clearly. He also showed us lots of his own works to whet our appetites. The long tail cast on element was different for double knitting and much easier than I had anticipated once I got to grips with it. The workshop was a three hour session and it definitely required concentration, although Nathan was right on hand if you got stuck or made a mistake. There was a lot of laughter and some bad language as we worked our way through the charted pattern, and I think that we all had fun.
I managed to finish my sample piece, although the workshop did overrun slightly, but as it was the end of the day, it didn't matter too much. And here it is!
It isn't perfect, but I think that I've got the hang of it now. And so afterwards, I bought yarn to knit one of Nathan's patterns (when I've cleared a couple of WIPs off my needles!). The pattern I have chosen is one that he showed us at the workshop - Peano No.1 It is a scarf pattern based on a fractal, and being double sided, will be very warm. The yarn I bought was Fyberspates Vivacious DK, and my scarf is going to be quite subtle, rather than in your face.
So on one side, it will be grey with a blue pattern, and on the other, it will be blue with a grey pattern.
Nathan's self-proclaimed goal is world domination by double knitting knitters and to that end there are still places on his workshops at Nottingham Yarn Expo (11 and 12 November 2017). And if you are at the Yarn Expo on Saturday 11th, you may well see me there!
And to finish up, after the workshop, I drove to the nearby Travelodge where I stayed overnight - they have very firm mattresses in Travelodges - before driving 130 miles home on Sunday morning. And yes, I do have more knitting to talk about, but will leave that for the next post, which I hope will arrive in a more timely manner than this one. Oh, and I am signed up for a brioche workshop in December, but that will be at my LYS.
All the best to you and yours, and may the frogs steer well clear of your WIPs.